Disappearance of missing backpacker in Auckland being treated as murder

Disappearance of missing backpacker in Auckland being treated as murder

A WICKFORD woman who has gone missing in New Zealand was last seen alive with a male companion, said police. "We are determined to find her and return her to her family", Mr Beard said.

"Sadly, the evidence we have gathered to this point of the enquiry has established that this is a homicide", Auckland City Police's Detective Inspector Scott Beard said in a statement on Saturday afternoon.

"Grace's family has been advised of this development and they're devastated" Beard told the media.

Ms Millane, 22, from Essex, England, was last seen at an Auckland hotel almost a week ago.

Police say Grace Millane was last spotted entering CityLife hotel in Auckland's CBD with a man on Saturday.

This morning police released photos of a necklace and pink Casio Baby-G watch Millane was thought to be wearing when she disappeared, and said her passport was also missing.

He added: "I know that the thoughts of all New Zealanders will be with Grace's family tonight".

Miss Millane, who graduated from the University of Lincoln in September, had been travelling alone in New Zealand for two weeks, following a six-week group trip through South America.

She had booked to stay at the Base Backpackers hostel in central Auckland until 8 December.

"The issue here is Grace is still missing and we want to find her".

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An emotional Beard said it had been a tough time for all involved in the investigation.

Her birthday was on Sunday but she didn't contact her family.

In a statement released on Saturday morning (New Zealand time), they said it had been "an extremely hard and emotional time for us all".

David Millane, father of missing British tourist Grace Millane, speaks to the media as police give updates on the investigation.

Detective Inspector Scott Beard said a scene examination at the hotel is continuing and investigators were progressing with the viewing of hundreds of hours of CCTV footage. Her passport is also missing.

Asked if they had met on the Tinder dating app, the detective said: "I'm not going to speculate on how they met.

There is family back in the United Kingdom and our hearts go out to them as well".

DI Beard confirmed that the man being questioned by police on Saturday was the same individual. "Our thoughts are with her family at this very bad time".

In a tearful press conference on Friday, Grace's father, who has travelled to Auckland, said the "fun-loving" graduate's family are "extremely concerned" for her welfare.

"Grace is a lovely, outgoing, fun-loving, family-orientated daughter".

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